History of International Harvester of Canada

A short history of Canadian International Harvester and their crawler tractors.

| May 2019

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A free exposition for local industries and natural resources at the Winnipeg Industrial Bureau building drew a crowd in 1919. Tractors were rated there through 1913.

Canada was the initial focal point for large-scale agriculture as it began the utilization of the vast prairies of the Great Plains. Conditions were as challenging there as they were in northern Illinois when, in the 1840s, John Deere pioneered use of the self-scouring steel plow.

To be profitable, however, Canadians knew that they had to get beyond the one-bottom, one-horse plow. More than a century ago, in 1908, the first Winnipeg (Manitoba) tractor trials were held, pitting huge steam engines against each other, and against the new upstart gas engine “tractors.”

The Winnipeg Industrial Exhibition, as it was formally known, rated steam and gas tractors on hauling and plowing abilities and fuel consumption. These competitions continued through 1913 with increasingly sophisticated testing. Tests were then held in the U.S. under the auspices of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) until formally taken over by the University of Nebraska in 1920.



Merger creates International Harvester

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The International Harvester building in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 1910.

Competition in the farm equipment industry was fierce late in the 19th century, and none of the competitors was making much money. Due to a severe recession in 1896 and 1897, making things worse, harvesting dynasties McCormick and Deering became serious about joining forces.



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